Deadly Lung Disease Claims as Many Lives Each Year as Breast Cancer, Yet Largely Unknown
San Jose, Calif. – January 28, 2008 – For the second year in a row, pulmonary fibrosis patients will be represented at the President’s State of the Union address. Just a year ago, Caesar Borja, Jr. attended President Bush’s State of the Union speech, just hours after his father lost his fight to live as he awaited a lung transplant for pulmonary fibrosis. Tonight, another pulmonary fibrosis patient’s family member will attend the State of the Union address.
Joseph Zadroga will attend tonight’s address in memory of his son, James Zadroga who died in 2006 to pulmonary fibrosis. Both Zadroga and the senior Borja were members of the New York Police Department during 9/11 and are believed to have been exposed to toxins that could have caused their pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable and deadly lung disease. According to reports, two pathologists agreed that Zadroga’s death to pulmonary fibrosis was linked to ground zero contaminants.
“It is a tragedy that every day, hundreds of people lose their lives to this horrific disease,” said Mishka Michon, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. “It is our hope that these brave family members can help increase awareness of this deadly disease that receives little funding and little attention from the federal government. We are working hard to find treatments to take this disease from terminal to treatable.”
Cases of pulmonary fibrosis are on the rise with more than 150 percent increase in incidence and prevalence of the disease since 2001. There is no FDA approved treatment and no cure for the disease that claims 40,000 lives each year, the same as breast cancer. More than 128,000 people suffer from pulmonary fibrosis and most will die within three years of diagnosis.